Fascination Metal: From Apprentice to Head of Technology
Dr. Wieland H. Klein is a mechanical engineer and CTO at Heinrich Georg GmbH. He grew up in the region of "Siegerland" and already completed his training at GEORG. In the interview, he talks about his fascination with "technology" and his career path.
Can you briefly describe your professional career?
Dr. Klein: I had my first contact with metal and its processing at the age of three in my father's workshop. From that point on, I knew what fascinated me. Even at elementary school age, I was able to turn and mill as well as work with many manual machine tools. Sheet metal and welding work also excited me. First toys and sleds were built, followed by simple machines for garden use (shredders).
In my youth, I then made my first complex parts for my moped and motorcycle transmission. That was insanely interesting and very practical. Coupled with the theoretical knowledge gained through school in the natural science subjects, especially physics, computer science and chemistry, completely new possibilities arose. I spent practically every free minute after school experimenting, building and learning how to handle and behave with metal on machines. Parallel to my A-levels, I did a lot of programming and soldered my first electronic circuit boards.
After school, my path led me to the Heinrich Georg company in Kreuztal. There I completed an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer. I enjoyed the training very much. In particular, my instructor at the time, Mr. Stein, taught me how to work precisely. I am still grateful to him for that today. The contact with large machines and plants, the main products of GEORG, also brought me a big step forward. First assemblies at customers were completed. That was very interesting, of course. A completely different world.
After my apprenticeship, I went to RWTH Aachen University and studied mechanical engineering. At the university, I also worked in various institutes from the first semester on in order to learn the practical relevance and to directly implement the theory. My path led me to the WZL (Machine Tool Laboratory of RWTH Aachen University), one of the largest and most important institutes in mechanical engineering worldwide. There, I worked in the field of condition monitoring on machine components.
After two years, I took over as head of the "Machine Elements" working group and developed and supervised many high-performance test benches. After three years, I became chief engineer of the WZL under Prof. Christian Brecher. There I was responsible for the entire field of machine technology. I was able to gain valuable knowledge at many machine tool manufacturers as well as major industrial companies worldwide and at the same time acquire many contacts to national and international scientists and institutes. These contacts still exist today and open up a wide range of opportunities for me in my current profession.
After my doctorate, I consciously went back to the Siegerland to the company Heinrich GEORG company in 2011. Everything is just right here. The products are exciting, technology is alive and you have the opportunity to actively shape innovations for the benefit of customers worldwide. At GEORG, I initially started as a design manager. After three years, I took over the machine tool division and today I am responsible for the technology and production of the GEORG Group in the management.
In your view, what makes your employer stand out?
Dr. Klein: GEORG is an high-tech company that promotes and challenges its employees. The global field of activity is fascinating and subject to constant change. Together with a team of proven experts from various disciplines, I can actively help shape our path from classic mechanical engineer to intelligent process optimizer, and I like the direct proximity to colleagues from almost all areas. I particularly enjoy working at the interface between pure mechanical engineering and digitization, but the challenges posed by climate change with regard to the development of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient products and processes are also very exciting. The trappings are also right; I think our numerous awards as the best employer in mechanical engineering speak for themselves.
What do you appreciate about living & working in South Westphalia?
Dr. Klein: South Westphalia is a region full of life with down-to-earth people. The region has been associated with technology for centuries, it is the cradle of mechanical engineering, where a high level of expertise is gathered, this characterizes the people of the Siegerland. The symbiosis of work and leisure is an excellent fit, offering my young family a wide range of opportunities. And the major centers of Cologne and Frankfurt are easy to reach.
Which advice would you give to young people who are having difficulty finding their career path?
Dr. Klein: My advice is to get solid training in a skilled trade at a good company that attaches importance to its training. There are many opportunities for this in the Siegerland and Sauerland regions. You can build on this basis like a stable foundation for a house.
Is there anything else on your mind?
Dr. Klein: I would like to motivate young people to get involved with technology at an early age, to learn in a playful way and thus to create a basis for their further career. There are great companies in our region, some of which are global leaders like GEORG. In order to secure the future in the long term, we must always be one step ahead of our competitors at home and abroad. And this requires first-class employees in the production facilities as well as outstanding colleagues in innovation and development and in the administrative areas of the companies.
Always by your side
This week Alejandro from our Mexican service partner Maquitec and Mohan from GEORG in India started their training of several weeks at the Kreuztal headquarter in Germany. Alejandro will support our service team for North America, while Mohan and his Indian colleagues have been working for GEORG for more than 10 years.
After 37 years we could say fare well to our colleague Wolfram Brettin wishing him all the best for his retirement. As employee in our mechanical workshop he has enjoyed an excellent reputation as skilled professional and not only among his colleagues. He loved to transfer his knowledge and skills to our young apprentices and trainees - this we will all miss for sure.
Dear Wolfram, thank you very much again for your efforts over decades. Enjoy your retirement and as a passionate member of the German Alpine Club for sure there will be no time for boredom.
An old hand says Good Bye! Counting back 50 years from 1st Aug., 2022 that was the day when our colleague Harald Simon started his apprenticeship at GEORG and since then he has shared his loyalty with us. Now he enters his well deserved retirement phase.
Only a few have personally witnessed our company's development and at the same time gathered personal and professional high esteem like him.
Thank you, Harald, for the common time. Our best wishes are with you in your new phase of life.
We say farewell and goodbye to our esteemed colleague and friend Gerhard Neuser, thanking him for his great efforts and wishing him all the best for his retirement phase.
As team leader in technical design of grinding machines he shared his expertise and knowledge and we achieved great progress.
Thank you Gerhard for the common time. All the best, stay well and keep your sense of humour!
And again we say thank you to our young talents!
The final exams for the apprenticeships industrial clerk, IT specialist, industrial mechanic and electronics technician for industrial engineering have taken place. We would like to congratulate Niklas Adam, Luisa Bunt, Cedric Müller, Ben Robin Schmidt and Jakob Stücher on their good grades.
Mark Georg congratulated the young professionals yesterday and brought not only the contracts of employment, but also a great bonus. The best graduates will visit our subsidiary in the USA this fall.
Welcome to the team!
Yesterday we welcomed our new colleague Felix Paul to our team. Felix Paul will support us in ensuring the timely and cost-optimized processing of all customer orders as well as a high level of transparency in order processing and capacity planning.
Welcome, Felix - and a good start with us!
Service expansion in America
You are a technical specialist (m/f/d) in mechanical engineering and/or in electronics – or on your way to become one – and want to tune-up your professional career?
Then you're the perfect fit for the Heinrich GEORG Team. We are hiring and looking for site managers (m/f/d) and service technicians (m/f/d)!
If you are open to gaining new perspectives, find out more under the Careers at Georg tab.
We are looking forward to meeting you!
8 more apprentices have completed their training as technical product designers, electronics technicians and industrial or machining mechanics at Heinrich GEORG with full success this year.
We are proud of you and congratulate Nico Breuer, Lucas Pitthan, Fynn-Luca Schneider, Daniel Jung, Christian Klappert, Samuel Rotert, Aylin Mühlbach und Leon Weber very much. And we would like to thank all the trainers and colleagues who have actively supported you over the past years.
Top Company 2022
In February, GEORG was awarded the kununu Top Company Award 2022 due to strong employee satisfaction, placing it in the top 5% of the most employee-friendly companies in Germany.
Thank you, dear employees!